Patients that come in with compromised immune systems during cold and flu season really see a benefit not only because of the warm environment which feels great, but also because the immune system is being encouraged to stimulate itself through blood flow and increased lymphatic drainage.
Dr. Shelby Entner- Medical Research and Development Division
Far infrared sauna therapy (FIRT) works in many ways to help strengthen the immune system. The gentle heat from the far infrared sauna raises the internal body temperature which mimics the state of fever. This “fever" stimulates the body's immune system to produce white blood cells like neutrophils, lymphocytes, macrophages, eosinophils and basophils; our body's defensive army. This is a similar process that occurs when you take an antibiotic, but the infrared sauna boosts the immune system naturally without the dangers associated with antibiotic usage. At the same time, the far infrared sauna stimulates detoxification of the body, (see detoxification). Detoxification can be defined as "the process of reducing the build-up of various poisonous substances in the body". Because the far infrared sauna wavelength penetrates the entire surface of the body up to two inches, a thorough cleansing takes place. The far infrared heat opens the pores which then allows the toxins to be flushed out with perspiration. Every system in our body performs better when it is free of toxins including the digestive, endocrine, cardiovascular, lymphatic and immune systems. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) estimates that over 80% of all illnesses have environmental and lifestyle associated causes. We are now living in a culture of stress that is literally killing us.
An infrared sauna is an easy way to reduce stress on a daily basis and allows the immune system to function better. Stress can cause chemical and hormonal imbalances to occur, wreaking havoc on our body and exacting a heavy toll over time. Our adrenal glands which sit on top of our kidneys, are essential in production of three important hormones: Cortisol, Aldosterone and Adrenaline. Cortisol supports carbohydrate metabolism; Aldosterone assists kidneys with sodium and water retention. Adrenal Glands also produce hormones responsible for muscle growth and they also produce Adrenaline which kicks in our “fight-or-flight" response in very stressful situations. If put in stress, adrenals are overworked and leave us feeling depleted of vital life force energy. And eventually, we become “burned out". When our adrenal and immune systems are worn down we become more susceptible to cold, flu, infections and other dis-eases. The soothing heat that surrounds you in the far infrared sauna allows a deep relaxed state while stress levels decrease. You can literally reset the ratio of stress/relaxation in your life. The blood vessels open; (vasodilation), the heart rate increases; (passive cardio), muscles relax, pain is reduced as endorphins are released. Regular far infrared sauna therapy promotes a normalizing of the body's hormones through this effect on the autonomic nervous system.
TIP - SAUNA EXERCISE FOR QUICK STRESS RELEASE: To increase a blood flow and to help adrenals and kidneys to become more open and receptive, try torso twists: Stand up in your sauna (you may also remain sitting) and set your hands comfortably at your waist. Then turn to left on inhale, then turn to right on exhale. AN INHALE begins as soon as you start turning to your left and finishes as soon as you complete the left turn. AN EXHALE begins as soon as you begin your right turn and finishes as soon as you complete it. Repeat (full/complete inhale to the left and full/complete exhale to the right). Make sure to breathe deeply and drink plenty of water.